Bagan, how many times we have dreamt about exploring this sacred place. Even after the earthquake in Myanmar that took place in this area just a week before our arrival (24th of August 2016), we decided not to change our plans and come to Bagan. We believed that now more than ever, the country needed the economical support tourism gives. We were not disappointed!
Bagan Archaeological Zone or The Temples of Bagan has 4000 sacred stupas and the best way to explore them it is by electric motorcycle – easily bookable in Nyaung U, the principal getaway to the temples – where we stayed.
You can visit the highlights in just one day but it would be a pity to spend here so little time. You don’t need, of course, to see all of the 4000 stupas, but Bagan is a very interesting place to spend two or three days.
We spent here three full days, roaming off-road, from temple to temple. Sometimes you get this “Tomb Raider” feeling as you climb hidden stairways that lead you to a platform where you can have breathtaking views.
No matter which season you visit Bagan, the sunrise and sunset are not to be missed. You can even fly over the temples on a hot air balloon! Unfortunately for us, this only happens between October and March.
Navigating the temples is very easy. Your guest house or hotel can provide you with a map, or you can use the Lonely Planet for example. Obviously, the locations Lonely Planet suggests are always the busiest, so get out of your comfort zone and find your own “hidden” temples.
Our favourite spot for sunrise was at Shwe San Taw temple and sunset at Oak Kyaung Gyi temple, beautiful views and more “under the radar”. We watched one sunset at Buledi temple, it was nice but very busy.
Gastronomic wise, we had very nice meals at Old Bagan, especially at The Moon, a vegetarian restaurant located at the north of Ananda Temple.
As we already mentioned, we visited Bagan from the 31st of August to the 3rd of September, right after the earthquake. It (almost) didn’t affect our travel experience. Some temples we weren’t allowed to climb anymore for safety reasons. At others, there was some rubble on the ground. The Temples of Bagan remains a unique and unforgettable place, that everyone should visit at least once in his lifetime!